Now that you’ve voted, I’ve got another job for you

This is important. Turn off your TV. Don’t visit five fucking thirty eight. Don’t check CNN every five minutes. You know that “election night” is a social construct, right? It’s an event contrived by television to fuel an obsession with minute-by-minute election returns, so that you’ll center your life for at least a day around watching advertising, just as all the media have turned elections into a horse-race monster where all that matters is who is ahead right this minute. That process culminates today and tonight in goddamn stupid election night parties and people spending their evening in the the glow of their TVs, listening to assholes making state-by-state predictions and pontificating on the “will of the American people” and solemnly declaring that one person ultimately has a “mandate”.

Don’t waste your time. Go play a video game or watch a movie or have sex or read a book or do your fucking grading or cook something delicious or go for a walk. Anything else. You’re fascinated with politics? Fine. Sit down and make a list of effective actions you can take, starting tomorrow. Plan your election strategy. Call up your local pols — it’s not as if they’re doing anything, they’re all glued to their TVs — and talk to them about policy.

Slap yourself out of the “event” mindset. This election is the result of years of accumulating bullshit, and it’s only going to be corrected by years of shoveling. If the less-evil guy wins, your hard work is just beginning. If the evil guy wins, well, you’re going to have to tear the whole system down, which is even more work, and you won’t get that done in a day and a night of listening to Jake Tapper yapping vapidly.

You voted. That’s your sole substantive contribution to politics today. Now do something else.

P.S. If you’ve already been roped into some election night waste-of-time, the only solution is to turn it into a drinking game. Bring a fifth of whisky and a fifth of tequila, and tell that annoying person who is making you suffer through this that they have to take a shot a) every time a loser from the primaries is asked to opine, b) every time they make a big show of changing the color of a state on a giant map, c) whenever the say the words “too soon to call”, and d) there is a lull in the incoming data that they fill with a network airhead babbling his opinions. If the network brings on some wretched evil dinosaur like Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, or Rick Santorum, you have to chug until they’re off the screen, or you lose consciousness. Your night will be mercifully brief, I promise.


  1. Duckbilled Platypus says

    Can I just recommend not watching because it will be seriously bad for your health.

  2. PaulBC says

    I just want to know what to expect tomorrow. While I agree that obsessively following news won’t make me better informed than periodic checks, I will probably be pretty obsessive about it.

    We all handle stress differently. When my daughter has gone into surgery, there is nothing I can really do but wait, but I still want all the news I can get. Don’t tell me I should just relax and think of something else. That’s crap. Maybe it works for some people. I know what works for me.

  3. Akira MacKenzie says

    Go play a video game or watch a movie or have sex or read a book or do your fucking grading or cook something delicious or go for a walk. [Emphasis mine]

    Sigh…Thanks for the reminder of all the things I can do.

  4. robro says

    a) every time a loser from the primaries is asked to opine

    And you have to shout “Buttigieg!!!!” right after you throw back that shot.

  5. lotharloo says

    I used to open CNN a lot, sometimes just impulsively. Then I installed adblock and now every time I open CNN it complains that I have it is on. Thanks adblock for reminding me to close cnn as quickly as I open it.

  6. William George says

    Go play a video game or watch a movie or have sex or read a book or do your fucking grading or cook something delicious or go for a walk.

    All things I do on my own already!

  7. PaulBC says

    I didn’t buy that 1.75l bottle of Jim Beam after all. Costco had a sale on the same amount Dewar’s White Label scotch that made it a better deal. I’m actually more of a bourbon drinker, but I figured why test fate. It is there for celebration or self-medication, depending on which is in order.

  8. maireaine46 says

    I am taking your good advice and avoiding media today all I can, It is especially hazardous to my health, and does not change anything. Of course we all voted by mail already for Biden. It is all a horror. Stick with spiders, they are cute and cuddly by comparison to politicians.

  9. evolutionaryautistic says

    I wish I could vote. (Not 18 yet.) I did try convince my dental hygienist to vote for Biden, though. I will take your advice. I am super nervous over the outcome of the election. I’ll probably just move the mint plants in my garden inside.

  10. says

    Two boxes of wine, two fat joints and a case of beer on deck and waiting. I might check in once in a while but I plan on spending the evening stoned off my gourd and giggling at cartoons.

  11. says

    I’m reminded, in a sick and twisted way, of the early scene in Dr. Strangelove when Group Captain Mandrake (that’s “Colonel” to Americans) finds the transistor radio in the communications/computer center, turns it on, and discovers that it’s playing easy-listening music. He realize this means that there isn’t an actual war alert becuase if there was a real war alert, the station would be providing emergency instructions and not music.

    I’m scared to turn on the radio to a classic-rock station and find emergency instructions. So I’ll stick to my CD collection… and perhaps watching Dr. Strangelove again, because then I can pretend everything is just a movie. And where the hell is Major Kong?

  12. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    I think Alton Brown and Elizabeth were doing a Quarantine Quitchen episode tonight to serve as a distraction.

  13. wzrd1 says

    @Ray Ceeya, glad we’re fairly distant, that smoke would hospitalized me, as I’m quite allergic to it. Best I can tolerate is CBD OIL.
    That said, PZ’s suggested quantity of ethanol is well within my tolerance for CNS depressants. :/
    I think that I’ll play with that Raspberry pii4 tonight, for use as a media player.

  14. PaulBC says

    Who thinks the “shy bladder Trumpies” will show up and take their final piss on democracy? That seems like very low probability scenario to me. On the other hand, I am dreading the thought of having to wait for Pennsylvania. No matter what happens, it’s going to suck, but there are so many different ways this could play out. If Trump declares victory, there may literally be a state of civil unrest to prevent additional vote counting. If Biden is predicted early (e.g. by winning Florida) and even if he gets the Senate, it’ll just be 2009 all over again except with a complete Republican takeover of the courts.

  15. garnetstar says

    The way to not have to attend or to hold election-night parties is to insist that the party, and the drinking games, must continue until the polls close in Hawaii.

    That’ll send everyone off to do something else ASAP.

    Remember that any part of it that’s worth seeing will be on YouTube tomorrow. That’s how I saw the only interesting election coverage ever: in 2012, when Karl Rove, on Fox News, refused to believe that Obama had won Ohio, and made the anchor walk to the decision desk to explain numbers to them. He absolutely could not accept that his delusion was just that. And hilarity ensued.

  16. mnb0 says

    “Turn off your TV. Don’t ……”
    I don’t have a tv. I’ll read some about it tomorrow in my morning paper. It might surprise many an American, but these elections are not the most important event in my life today.

  17. billseymour says

    Oops…I have two comments to the previous thread that I meant for this one.  I need to pay more attention.

  18. says

    I’m mostly in observation mode watching how others are handling the election, in Tucson Arizona. There were a few spontaneous Trump parades over the last two days. I’ve been flipping the script on paranoid bigots on nextdoor who keep asserting disparaging polarized stories about their political opponents as a monolith. I keep pointing out that all they have are disparaging insulting stories and that instead of engaging they start insulting people when pressed to demonstrate.
    My favorite is the person who wants to ban political parties because the left and right both suck and the left has riled up the right. No attempt to show an equivalence of course.

    I took yesterday off to write but my psychiatrist had a personal emergency and forgot to send my sertraline prescription. The withdrawal is annoying.

  19. PaulBC says

    All the comments about news and TV are making me think of the late John Prine (sadly lost to the pandemic.)

    Blow up your TV, throw away your paper
    Go to the country, build you a home
    Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches
    Try and find Jesus on your own

    Great advice… and if the religious reference is a deal breaker, substitute your only personal transcendence (I am torn between the Nerdpocalypse and hitching on ride on the next Oumuamua-like object that comes through the solar system).

  20. says

    Of course I forgot my adhd meds, though I have the sertraline. I’m familiar with the feeling of that fuck up, the unique social tension in combination with the set is going interesting. At least I have a license for 3.5 oz of federal crime a month. That helps a lot.

    There was a general comment shaming the behavior of people on the left in the post, with no examples. There were 2 people agreeing with that, who mentioned no examples. None of them had examples when asked so far. None of them had anything to say about the people making general disparaging comments about the left, antifa, democrats…

  21. unclefrogy says

    thanks for the John Prine reference it makes me sad to think that he has gone.
    The most human song writer /poet I have liked him ever since his hit “your flag decal wont get you into heaven any more”
    I think I will try to moderate my behavior today and just do some things I like cooking a new variation on a good receipt and maybe listen to some music for a while. I did manage to sleep late so as to miss part of the day still though plenty of time until solid results are in. going to do some baking today and hopefully more tomorrow. maybe cleanup and rearrange the el. lab as well. and try not to hold my breath
    uncle frogy

  22. PaulBC says

    “your flag decal wont get you into heaven any more” Nor your flag lapel, though it seems to be a popular belief among Republicans, at least since September 2001 (and some Democrats too).

  23. Craig says

    Thanks, PZ. We had already made our decision to not watch tonight.

    Back in 2016 we didn’t watch either. If the election went in our favor, we figured we’d hear the celebrations in the streets in the middle of the night outside our DC apartment. No celebrations meant the election went south. We didn’t even need to wait for morning to know.

    I don’t know how things will be this year, living in a suburban New England town – especially given that we’ve had idiots shooting off fireworks all year – but I suppose it’ll be similar except that we may not be able to discern the results until much later.

  24. killyosaur says

    I’m not watching, I’m just debating if I play Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus or Call of Duty: World at War. The latter is a bit too optimistic, the former a bit to close to reality.. .

  25. hemidactylus says

    I started watching CNN earlier and couldn’t handle them obsessing obsessively over the see saw action in Florida, especially Wolf snarking in the background about how Hillary performed differently in 2016 in key counties. I just can’t.

    At this point the only positive event in this crap year has been Tom Brady playing for the TB Bucs. And even that sucked watching them struggle against the Giants last night.

    And a monster greek letter hurricane wants to come visit me after it’s done rampaging through Nicaragua and Honduras so late in the season. That after the potential political disaster for the US.


  26. says

    “If the evil guy wins, well, you’re going to have to tear the whole system down,”

    How about, rather than trying to tear down a system that a majority of the electorate seems perfectly happy with, ask ourselves how we’ve failed to persuade enough people that it needs tearing down?

  27. oddie says

    Demolition Man shot. Gotta love it. A movie that predicted the rise of zoom and the market control of Taco Bell. They were half right #takethisjobandshovelit

  28. PaulBC says

    “If the evil guy wins, well, you’re going to have to tear the whole system down,” Portland’s got you covered. “Demonstrators in Portland and Seattle say they will protest no matter who wins.” (NYT)

    In these fraught times, I guess it’s good to have something you can count on.

  29. birgerjohansson says

    Ca 13 Swedish time ca 7 am Merican time. It looks good for Biden but it is not yet certain if he will get Arizona and/or Pennsylvania.
    Sadly it looks bad for the senate, although the postal votes have not been counted yet.
    Demonstrate in the streets if the Dems are too chicken to take back the supreme court.
    Your next major task: vote in the primaries a year from now and block the corporate Democrats.
    Two years from now: vote again.